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25-4                                          FLORA   INDICA.
lies probably to the westward of Kclat, but our maps arc not
sufficiently accurate to make its course in that direction ob-
vious. /It its point of origin this chain is more than 18,000
feet in height; where it is called the Safed-Koh, or White
mountains, it is 14,000. Near Ghazni it is from 9000 to
10,000 feet high; and near Guetta its elevation is nearly as
great, for the peak of Chahil Tan rises to 10,500 feet. Its
eastern ramifications are high ridges which dip abruptly into
the valley of the Indus; one peak, near Dera Ismael Khan
(called Takht-i-Sulimaii), attains a height of 11,000 feet, and
the range south of the Kabul river rises still higher. The de-
ceptive appearance of a chain of moiintaius running parallel
to aiul near the west bank of the Indus is given by the ex-
tremities of the eastern spurs of these ridges, and has no ex-
istence except upon our maps. To the westward, long ranges
of rugged mountains branch from it, and stretch far in a
south-west direction before they sink into the elevated table-
land of Persia. The elevation of Candahar is 3480 feet, and
that of Bamian 8500.
Excepting in the most eastern part of Hindu Kush, be-
tween the Kuner and the Gilgit rivers, these mountains no-
where rise to the height of perpetual snow, except on the peak
of Koh-i-Baba. Their outline is often rounded; they arc in
general bare and stony, separated by wide elevated valleys,
1000 or 2000 feet below the ridges. Water being scarce,
the valleys are sterile and very rocky.
Throughout Afghanistan the climate is excessive. The
cold of the winter is intense, the spring is damp and raw, and
the summer, during which hot west winds prevail, is intensely
hot at all elevations. Winter and spring are the raiuy (or
snowy) seasons, while the summer and autumn are dry. The
return, upper current of moist air, which passes northward
during the prevalence of the north-east monsoon, is condensed
by the mountains, and heavy falls of snow are of frequent oc-
currence Soring winter at all elevations above 5000 feet, or a
little lower in the immediate vioimty-frfcjha IJindu Ktish. In